Republican presidential candidates (L-R): Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-Texas), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) take the stage for the CNBC debate at the University of Colorado in Boulder on Oct. 28, 2015. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

Colorado energy and marijuana issues get scant time in Republican debate

Marijuana and energy, two of Colorado’s chief moneymakers, didn’t get a lot of stage time in the Republican debate in Boulder, but the issues weren’t off the grid at the University of Colorado Wednesday.

Aslinn Scott, 24, a CU-Boulder graduate and the former Western Regional vice chair of the College Republican National Committee, was back on campus trying to get a conversation started on the subject. The issue isn’t new to her.

“Coloradans have always believed in growth and opportunity,” she said.

“Presently though that view is challenged living in a period of economic uncertainty. Rising home prices and slimming employment suggest Coloradans have to work harder to live in this beautiful state of ours. We should be doing everything possible to increase job creation, particularly in industries like oil and natural gas that have stabilized local economies and provided good-paying jobs in our state during the recession.”

Video courtesy of CNBC

The American Petroleum Institute released a poll Tuesday that indicated 68 percent of Coloradans are more likely to support a candidate who supports producing more oil and natural gas.

Seventy-eight percent of registered Colorado voters supported increased domestic production of oil and natural gas resources, the poll suggested.

Ninety-five percent of Republicans, 84 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats polled said they supported more U.S. production of oil and natural gas, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took on the energy issue in a question about climate change, preferring that investments in renewable energy come from the private sector, not mandates and taxes from the government.

“We worked with the private sector to make solar affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state,” he said during Wednesday’s Republican debate.

“That’s the way we deal with global warming — not through government intervention, not through government taxes, and for God’s sake, don’t send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they are already sending now.”

John Kasich, governor of another swing state, Ohio, fielded a question about marijuana from CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla. Ohio has two marijuana legalization issues, medical and recreational, on next Tuesday’s ballot.

QUINTANILLA: Thank you, Senator. Governor Kasich, let’s talk about marijuana. We are broadcasting from Colorado, which has seen $150 million in new revenue for the state since legalizing last year. Governor Hickenlooper was not a big fan of legalization, but he said the people who used to be smoking it are still smoking it, they are just now paying taxes.

Given the budget pressures in Ohio and other states, is this a revenue stream you’d like to have?

KASICH: First of all, we’re running a $2 billion surplus. Okay. We’re not having a revenue problem right now. And sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster. Drugs is one of the greatest scourges in this country. I’ve spent five years of my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try to rein in the problem of overdoses. And it goes on and on. We can do a whole show on that.

The CU Boulder chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy had circulated a petition asking to have marijuana legalization and the economy discussed at Wednesday’s debate.

The petition drew more than 44,768 signatures, making it one of the most popular petitions related to the presidential debates on, according to SSDP.

“It’s outrageous that CNBC allowed a question about marijuana and the economy to be ignored,” Raina French, a member of the SSDP chapter at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, said after the debate about Kasich’s response. “Regulating marijuana has done wonders for the Colorado economy, and the Republicans who want to be our next president need to address this success and talk about how it can be responsibly replicated nationally.”

This story was first published on The Spot politics blog